48 Canadian Churches Vandalized or Burned Down in Past 2 Months


Though barely mentioned in US media, 48 Christian churches in Canada have been vandalized or burned down in the past two months. The latest occurred Monday, when the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, British Colombia, was destroyed by fire.

Since mid-June, five B.C. churches were set alight, apparently connected to unmarked graves discovered at former residential school sites. The schools were instituted in 1874 as an effort to assimilate native tribes in language, religion, and culture. First Nations children were removed from their families and often moved great distances into the boarding schools. The program officially ended in 1969.

No evidence has shown if the deaths came from natural causes or intentional abuse but most of the Canadian press has presumed the latter. Since the Catholic Church ran 70 percent of these schools, it has borne most of the current backlash. But it didn’t take long for arsonists and vandals to attack churches far from First Nations reserves and unrelated to Catholicism.

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Boston Globe opinion writer Jeff Jacoby about the troubling increase in antisemitic incidents, including the recent attack on a Boston rabbi, and how our current political rancor fans the flames of bigotry nationwide.
Related: The Boston Globe: How to speak out against antisemitism


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I’ve found the Internet Sacred Text Archive to be a great place to stumble into some free texts that I had no idea existed, as well as established texts all available in a single place. Of particular interest to many Ricochetti is the Christianity page, which includes not only the KJV of the Bible, but […]

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For as long as I can remember, every 9th of Av I hear somebody talk about all of the horrible atrocities that have happened to the Jewish people on this day, and not without cause. From our very beginning, Tisha Ba’av was not a day remembered with fond memories. The destruction of the two temples, […]

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Pope Francis Drops a Bomb on the Church


Friday, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio” entitled, Traditionis Custodes.(TC)

This letter severely restricts the use of the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), effectively throwing Benedict XVI and his issuance of Summorum Pontificum (SP), under the bus. Pope Benedict XVI issued SP in order to help those faithful who “continued to be attached with such love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms which had deeply shaped their culture and spirit.” Apparently, Pope Francis doesn’t think that’s necessary anymore.

Call Me Not Great When I Go


Call me not great when I go, friend.
Call me not great at all.
I was a man imperfect, friend;
I heard the devil’s call.

At times I’d deny his allure.
At times I paid his due.
My sins remember me for sure,
And ev’ry one I rue.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Morgan Hunter, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California, and co-author with Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Dr. Williamson Evers, of the white paper, Is It Time for a “490 B.C. Project”?: High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage. Dr. Hunter shares the main arguments from her report, on why studying antiquity is vital to the education of young people in the early 21st century. She explores how Greco-Roman history and culture have influenced great statesmen, artists, and writers through the ages, from Shakespeare to the American Founders and Winston Churchill. They then discuss the importance of the enduring wisdom of the ancients in the writings of African-American leaders such as Frederick Douglass and MLK, as noted recently by Cornel West. They delve into lessons students can draw from Cicero, other key figures of the Roman Republic, and from the Athenian democracy, about self-government in the 21st century.

Stories of the Week: Writing in EducationNext, Chad Aldeman and recent Learning Curve guest Marguerite Roza suggest targeted approaches to spending stimulus funds for education, such as tutoring and summer programs, rather than hiring more staff. In Forbes, EdChoice’s Mike McShane shares the impressive list of states that have enacted or expanded school choice programs that will give tens of thousands more families access to better educational options.

Quote of the Day: Reinhold Niebuhr on Marxism


Reinhold niebuhr.jpgThe insights into human nature which Marxism has fortunately added to modern culture belong to the forgotten insights of prophetic religion. They must be reappropriated with gratitude for their rediscovery. But since prophetic religion must deal with the total human situation it cannot accept them merely as weapons in one particular social conflict. To do so would mean to make them the basis of new spiritual pretensions. The pathos of Marxian spirituality is that it sees the qualified and determined character of all types of spirituality except its own. Thus the recognition of human finitenness becomes the basis of a new type of pretention that finitenness has been transcended.

From An Interpretation of Christian Ethics. Click here to see the quote in the book itself.  I’m trying to get some working competence with the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr (not to be confused with his brother Richard Niebuhr) because I’m teaching this course again next year.

I have a long way to go.  And, arguably, I’m not even in the right book!  This is just some early Niebuhr that he later critiqued himself!  (Speaking of Niebuhr, I also recently noticed that I’d been spelling it incorrectly–NiebHur instead of NiebuHr.)

Happy Baptism!


Do you know the day you were baptized? I don’t know mine. There’s a record somewhere, neglected. 

We all know our birthdays. We celebrate them. But why? Those are not the days we began. Those are not the days we were chosen, given to God, set apart, made alive in Christ.

Quote of the Day: Naaman’s Request


After being healed of leprously, Naaman is set to return to his own country. He says to Elisha (ESV):

. . . from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.

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Stories, histories, and memories are how a person relates one’s life to another. Am I on the right track? Am I doing enough? Am I missing something? We look to our neighbors, to our ancestors, to our heroes for guidance.  That’s good. But there’s a problem. Those are mere summaries. Preview Open

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Meeting the Miracles


One of the great joys of Christianity and the communion of saints, though often overlooked, is the knowledge that in Heaven we will meet not only our loved ones who accepted Christ’s mercy but also the disciples of God whose stories became testaments in the Holy Bible. How much nearer those stories become if we consider that the souls therein have become of our own community, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Every prophet and apostle, every father or mother in the holy line between Abraham and Mary, every person who Jesus miraculously cleansed of affliction or freed of demonic torment — they have become my eternal family. One day, be it an hour or a thousand years after my passage through death to the world of life, I will meet them face-to-face in the perfect joy and understanding of God’s unfiltered grace. They will become friends with whom I can share the Lord’s endless wonders.

Where We Do Not Wish to Go


“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were young you used to fasten your own belt and you would go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18, New Catholic Bible)

I attended a Catholic Mass this past week to watch a cousin graduate from 8th grade and move up to high school. While I haven’t been a Catholic for 40 years, it’s still pleasant to listen occasionally to the familiar old service. The Church made changes to the liturgical responses a decade or so ago, and I find it a little jarring to hear something slightly different from the words I memorized in my youth; if not for that, I’d still be able to recite the responses correctly, even after all these years.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please. They discuss findings from her book on how excessive technology use negatively impacts children’s intellectual, social, and moral development – which was even more of a challenge with the wide usage of remote learning during COVID-19. The conversation turns to Riley’s extensive commentary on the relationship between religion and education in American society, and lessons K-12 education policymakers should learn from higher education’s handling of faith on campus. She delves into why religion and church-state issues remain such a stark fault line across American K-12 education. They also talk about the development of anti-intellectual efforts on college campuses, and in the larger society, to use speech codes, political correctness, wokeness, and now cancel culture to shut down the free exchange of ideas, and why such campaigns to undermine the fundamentals of democracy persist.

Stories of the Week: EducationWeek reports that over 1.3 million American students did not return to school this year due to the pandemic-related closures. School districts are scrambling to lure them back, but will it work? Juneteenth, which honors the 1865 ending of slavery in this country, has officially become a U.S. federal holiday.

‘Running Naked on the Golden Sands of Time…’


In the late ’60s, the Hippie movement centered in San Francisco was reaching its zenith. Being a Flower Child has lost some luster and has become a parody. There are some acolytes left and, like any other movement, it morphs into something more than wearing flowers in your hair.

As a student in a boy’s Catholic high school, we were encouraged to engage in a respectful discussion of ideas. Sometimes those discussions would occur in classes that had nothing to do with government or politics. Our teachers always kept an eye on the clock to make sure that these discussions did not take up the entire class time. They were aware that our parents were paying the bills, and they expected their sons to receive an education.

Vatican Denies ‘Very Catholic’ Biden a Mass with Pope Francis


From taxpayer-funded abortion to suing the Little Sisters of the Poor, the dogma lives loudly in our very Catholic president. So, Tuesday morning, he’s popping into the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. Never wanting to miss a photo-op, Team Biden asked that the president attend mass with the Pontifex Maximus. Maybe Joe could make intercessory prayers to St. Margaret Sanger and Pachamama.

The Vatican, however, wasn’t too keen on the idea. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops meets Wednesday to create a committee to write a document about “Eucharistic coherence.” That’s already a tense enough issue without a pro-abortion politician receiving communion with Pope Francis. They informed Biden that a mass wasn’t going to happen.

The issue has jumped to the fore with Biden’s election because one is not supposed to participate in the Eucharist when in a state of sin. I mean, it’s right there in the Book:

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Empiricism is not the only way of science and history. The “Enlightenment” fostered a cynical approach to heritage, testimony, theory, and study that accepts only what is certain and does not dare to believe extraordinary claims. It leaves aside so much of life that occurs beyond the rules of regulated activity.  We should distinguish between […]

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Quote of the Day: What’s Wrong with Academics


Uncle Screwtape (in Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis):

But in the intellectual climate which we have at last succeeded in producing throughout Western Europe, you needn’t bother about that. Only the learned read old books and we have now so dealt with the learned that they are of all men the least likely to acquire wisdom by doing so. We have done this by inculcating The Historical Point of View. The Historical Point of View, put briefly, means that when a learned man is presented with any statement in an ancient author, the one question he never asks is whether it is true. He asks who influenced the ancient writer, and how far the statement is consistent with what he said in other books, and what phase in the writer’s development, or in the general history of thought, it illustrates, and how it affected later writers, and how often it has been misunderstood (specially by the learned man’s own colleagues) and what the general course of criticism on it has been for the last ten years, and what is the “present state of the question”. To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge—to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behaviour—this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded.